Because the best things in life are simple

Tag: comfort food

Short Ribs Provencale

Short Ribs Provencale

(Above: There is a variety of complex flavors in this dish.)

Sometimes you find an amazing recipe: one that outdoes all others for the same dish. This is that recipe for short ribs.

The recipe is time consuming but it’s well worth the wait. I found it on Epicurious. Cookbook author Rick Rodgers said the editors of Bon Appétit magazine asked him to create the ultimate version of braised short ribs and this is what he came up with, based on elements of various short rib dishes he enjoyed at several restaurants. He did this some 15 years ago in 2003, and having made this recently I can say it stands the test of time.

 

A blue dutch oven
You could this dish in a dutch oven for 2 1/2 hours.

 

I took it a step further by using short ribs I got at a local Massachusetts farm. I also had a pound of bacon and a chicken sausage I needed to cook, so I cooked them in the dutch oven before I cooked the short ribs. Before adding the ribs, I took out all of the oil left from the bacon and sausage except for about two tablespoons. I don’t think cooking bacon and sausage is necessary but I do believe it added even more depth to the wonderful flavors found in this dish.

I didn’t have any black olives so I used what I had on hand: olives stuffed with blue cheese. I also served the short ribs over mashed potatoes and covered it all in a blanket of the delicious sauce. Here’s the recipe. Bon appetite!

Short Ribs Provencale (From Rick Rodgers)

May 2, 2016
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 pounds individual short ribs (not cross-cut flanken)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hearty red wine, such as Zinfandel or Shiraz
  • 1 3/4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 ounces baby-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup Mediterranean black olives, such as Niçoise, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Step 2 Heat the oil in a large (at least 6-quart) Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with the salt and pepper. In batches, without crowding, add the short ribs to the pot and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a platter.
  • Step 3 Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Add the onion, chopped carrot, and celery to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, herbes de Provence, and flour and stir until the garlic gives off its aroma, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the broth, tomatoes, and bay leaf. Return the short ribs, and any juices, to the pot. Add cold water as needed to barely reach the top of the ribs and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Step 4 Cover tightly, transfer to the oven, and bake, stirring occasionally to change the position of the ribs, until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, about 2 1/2 hours. During the last 15 minutes, add the baby carrots.
  • Step 5 Transfer the short ribs to a deep serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, and discard the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to a sauce consistency, about 10 minutes (the exact time depends on the size of the pot). Add the olives and cook to heat them through, about 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Step 6 Spoon the sauce with the carrots over the ribs, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve hot, preferably over mashed potatoes.

 

Pub Kettle Chips

Pub Kettle Chips

(Above: These chips would go great with watching a football game or just watching the snow fall.)

This was an appetizer eureka!

It isn’t often that I strike gold while dining out but I did on a recent visit to Providence, Rhode Island. By striking gold, I mean tasting something so incredibly delicious and yet so simple to cook it makes you think “Why didn’t I think of that?” This happened on a visit to Union Station Brewery in downtown Providence. The dish? Pub Kettle Chips.

For a mere $7.99 you get a large platter of homemade kettle potato chips with melted cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream. Mmmm! Goes well with beer (but then again, what doesn’t?)

I recreated them at home by doing the following:

Pub Kettle Chips (From Union Station Brewery in Providence, RI)

December 17, 2013
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • Potato Chips (Use kettle chips, such as Utz Mystic Gourmet Dark Russet Potato Chips.)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Sour Cream
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread a layer of potato chips on a cookie sheet.
  • Step 2 Sprinkle with extra-sharp cheddar cheese and bake in 350 degree oven until cheese melts and chips are hot.
  • Step 3 Cook bacon and crumble it or cut it into small pieces and then sprinkle on top of chips.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle with chopped scallions. And put a couple of large dollops of sour cream on top.

 

Stracciatella Soup

Stracciatella Soup

(Above: This soup is great all year, but much appreciated on a snowy day.)

This is soup season. And with more than two feet of snow dropping in the Boston area in less than 12 hours, we’re in the thick of it.

What better soup is there to help weather the storm than stracciatella, sometimes referred to as Roman Egg Drop soup? My mother used to make a version of this.

Here’s a quick recipe for Spinach Stracciatella Soup (Serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side.):

STRACCIATELLA SOUP

February 9, 2013
: Medium

To make homemade chicken soup, I usually buy a roasting chicken and cook it for dinner one night and then after a day or so (when most of the meat has been picked off clean), I use it to make the chicken broth.

By:

Ingredients
  • Chicken broth (About 8-10 cups. Use your favorite. Homemade is easy and economical. See recipe below.)
  • Pasta for the soup (I like cheese or meat tortellini for this soup, but you can use any short pasta such as bow ties or fusilli.)
  • Chopped fresh spinach or a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
  • Eggs (2 large, beaten)
  • Parmesan cheese (About one cup, grated. Please, use the imported. Or at least freshly grated Romano or Pecorino. The stuff you buy in a jar in the supermarket isn’t cheese. It’s more like plastic.)
Directions
  • Step 1 To make homemade chicken soup: Drop the carcass into a large soup pot. If it’s a tall pot, cover it with about four inches of water. If it’s a wide pot, cover it with about 2 inches of water. Add a carrot, a celery stick, maybe an onion, some salt and pepper. Boil it for an hour or more. Take out the carcass and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large plastic container. Put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning skim off the fat. You can now use the broth as you see fit.
  • Step 2 Bring the broth to a slow boil. Drop in the tortellini (or short pasta of your choice) and cook until nearly done. Then drop in the frozen spinach and about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
  • Step 3 Cook until spinach and tortellini are done and the broth is just simmering.
  • Step 4 Stir soup and slowly pour in the beaten egg in a continuous stream. Continue stirring until the egg is cooked.
  • Step 5 Add salt and pepper as needed.

Beef Bourguignon II: An Easier Recipe

Beef Bourguignon II: An Easier Recipe

Here’s a quicker and easier recipe than Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon.

With temperatures in the 40s yesterday I was looking to make something in my dutch oven. So I looked on the Staub website and found this recipe. It’s time consuming (needs two hours in the oven) but pretty simple to make and dirties only one pan: your dutch oven.

Once you crisp the bacon, brown the beef, and saute the mushrooms, you throw everything back into the dutch oven and wait 2 hours for it to be done. I don’t have the steamer insert so I didn’t make the potatoes as described in this recipe on the Staub website. Instead I opted for mashed potatoes and some crusty bread.

You could also serve it with torta d’patata, according to this meal plan.

Beef Bourguignon II: An Easier Recipe

November 9, 2012
: 2 hr 40 min
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms, stems removed and cut into quarters
  • 2 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup beef broth, divided
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. whole pearl onions, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 3 cups red Burgundy wine or Pinot Noir
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat a 5 qt. cocotte over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.
  • Step 2 Add the mushrooms to the cocotte and cook until golden and just tender, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the bacon.
  • Step 3 Season the beef generously with the salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, warm the cocotte. Working in 3 batches, brown the beef on all sides until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the beef to a plate.
  • Step 4 After the last batch of beef is browned, deglaze the cocotte with 1/2 cup beef broth, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Return all the beef, bacon, and mushrooms to the cocotte. Add the flour, stir to coat evenly, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Step 5 Add the carrots, pearl onions, garlic, and tomato paste to the cocotte. Add the brandy and simmer for 30 seconds. Add the wine, remaining beef broth, and bouquet garni to the cocotte and increase the heat to medium-high, bringing the liquid to a boil.
  • Step 6 Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check the stew and give it a stir. Continue cooking the stew, covered, until the beef is fork-tender, 30 to 45 minutes more. Taste the liquid and season with salt and pepper, if desired, and discard the bouquet garni.
  • Step 7 Spoon the beef bourguignon into a shallow bowl. Serve with potatoes and garnish with parsley.

 

Easy Sunday Morning Popovers

Easy Sunday Morning Popovers

If you have 30 minutes before the gang wakes up, try this easy popover recipe. They’re great with butter and jam for a breakfast or brunch treat, but also good to have with dinner.

The scary part is you can’t open the oven to check on how they’re doing. You have to have faith. And this being Sunday, what better day is there to make this recipe?

Easy Sunday Popovers

September 25, 2011
: Makes 8-10 popovers
: 10 min
: 30 min
: 40 min
: Easy

These are best served warm, right out of the oven.

By:

Ingredients
  • Eggs (2 large)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Butter, melted (1 tablespoon)
  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
Directions
  • Step 1 Butter muffin pans.
  • Step 2 Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly blended, but don’t overdo it.
  • Step 3 Half fill the muffin tins and put them in a cold oven.
  • Step 4 Turn the oven on to 450 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THEY COOK, OR THE POPOVERS WILL FALL.
  • Step 5 Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THEY COOK, OR THE POPOVERS WILL FALL.
  • Step 6 Remove from pan and serve with butter and/or jam. Makes 8 to 10 popovers.
Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes

Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes

The bold flavor of gingerbread in one of the lightest pancakes you'll ever eat.
The bold flavor of gingerbread in one of the lightest pancakes you'll ever eat.

A friend on a skiing trip in Vermont raved about some gingerbread pancakes she ate at a restaurant up there. I emailed the place to see if they’d be willing to share the recipe with the RootsLiving community. But alas, they wouldn’t give it up.

So I did some searching and found this recipe in a cookbook I was given for Christmas this year: “Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty.” I made them for dinner tonight and found them to be very light, fluffy and brimming with gingerbread flavor.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • All Purpose Flour (1 1/4 cups)
  • Baking Powder (1 tsp.)
  • Baking Soda (1/2 tsp.)
  • Kosher Salt (1/2 tsp.) (I’m sure if you don’t have Kosher, regular salt will do.)
  • Ground Cinnamon (1 tsp.)
  • Ground Ginger (3/4 tsp.)
  • Ground Cloves (1/8 tsp.)
  • Large Eggs (2)
  • Dark Brown Sugar (1/4 cup, firmly packed)
  • Unsulfured Light Molasses (2 tbsp.)
  • Unsalted Butter (2 tbsp, melted, plus more for serving)
  • Brewed Coffee (1/4 cup, at room temperature)
  • Canola Oil (enough for cooking)
  • Pure Maple Syrup (For serving. I didn’t have pure maple syrup so I used Aunt Jemima Original. I know, sacrilege!)

What I Did:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

In another bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, the 2 tablespoons of melted butter, coffee, and 1/2 cup of water.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Don’t overwork it.

Get a frying pan hot enough so that water flicked on it will sizzle and skitter across the surface.

Brush a light coating of the oil over the pan and then pour about 1/4  cup of the batter onto it. Cook pancake until bubbles form on the surface (about 2 min.). And then flip it over until the bottom is golden brown (about 30 seconds to 1 min.)

Transfer pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

Serve hot and with plenty of butter and syrup.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Ribollita Soup

Ribollita Soup

Also known as “Tuscan Bean Soup,” this is a real crowd pleaser. I’ve tripled this recipe and fed nearly 50 people with it at our annual Christmas open house party.

I got this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, but incorporated a few short cuts so you can make this in about 1 1/2 hours. Using a food processor to chop all of the vegetables also helps make the work go faster.

The taste is sweet and a little sour with a punch of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. It’s a great, hearty soup on a cold winter night.

Ribollita Soup

December 6, 2009
: About 12
: 1 hr
: 1 hr 30 min
: Easy-Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 large can of cannellini beans (about 19 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 pound diced pancetta
  • 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I always use Kosher as it’s the most flavorful.)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably the imported Parmesan Reggiano), for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot.
  • Step 2 Add the pancetta and onions. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 3 Add the carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 4 Add the tomatoes with the puree, the kale, and basil. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Stir occasionally)
  • Step 5 Rinse the cannellini beans under cold water. Puree half of them in a food processor with about 1/2 cup of water.
  • Step 6 Add pureed beans to the soup. And then add the remaining half of the whole beans. And stir.
  • Step 7 Add the eight cups of chicken stock.
  • Step 8 Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Step 9 Add the bread cubes to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • Step 10 Serve hot in large bowls. Sprinkle a little freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. And then drizzle a little olive oil over it.
This is the Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

This is the Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Here’s a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, “French Home Cooking,” by Paul Bocuse:

Macaroni Au Gratin (Best Mac and Cheese Recipe)

June 9, 2009
: 6
: 15 min
: 1 hr 10 min
: 1 hr 25 min
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 pound long macaroni
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and split lengthwise
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • Salt, pepper
  • Nutmeg (preferably, fresh ground)
  • 3/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, of heavy cream
  • 4 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 ounces butter (preferably unsalted), cut into small pieces
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 350
  • Step 2 Cook macaroni in rapidly boiling salted water for 7 minutes, then drain in a colander (do not cool).
  • Step 3 Rub a large baking dish with the garlic and butter it well.
  • Step 4 Heat the milk in a large saucepan and season generously with salt, pepper, and a just a pinch or two of nutmeg (Note: Nutmeg is strong, especially fresh-ground, and you don’t need much to add flavor).
  • Step 5 Stir in the cream and the macaroni, then pour into the baking dish.
  • Step 6 Sprinkle with grated cheese, dot with butter, and bake for one hour (The macaroni should bake for a long time. It will finish cooking in the milk and become beautifully browned on top).